What Are the Traits of a Narcissist?

It’s easy to slap the “narcissist” label on someone who spends a bit too much time talking about her career or who never seems to doubt himself, but narcissism is more complicated than it may seem: It’s not a surplus of self-esteem, but more accurately encompasses a hunger for appreciation or admiration, a sense of specialness and a desire to be the center of attention, and an expectation of special treatment reflecting perceived higher status.

These and other traits can prove damaging in relationships, whether romantic, familial, or professional. Interestingly, in addition to thinking they are better and more deserving than others, research suggests, highly narcissistic people often admit to an awareness that they are more self-centered, too.

Traits include:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
  • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office

Article c/o Psychology Today

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